10 Minutes with Natalia Pujiyanti MRICS
Director of Arcadis Indonesia, Jakarta, Natalia Pujiyanti was one of the first construction professionals in Indonesia to gain MRICS status. She has worked her way up to become a Director with a passion for sharing knowledge with junior staff, but how did she get there? Natalia tells us in her own words.
I like to let my imagination run wild when thinking about design. I’m from Bandung in Indonesia, which still has a lot of beautiful historic European-style buildings and at a young age they inspired me to become an architect. In 1998, I studied architecture at the Bandung Institute of Technology, graduating four years later with cum laude. Luckily, only a month later, I joined a multi-disciplinary firm as junior architect, drafting and specifying materials, even though the real estate industry was experiencing a recession.
The career break
Six months later, my manager asked whether I wanted to be seconded to the quantity surveying department; I became totally engrossed in the job. So I started to explore the best ways to become chartered, and in 2003 I secured a job at Davis Langdon & Seah Indonesia – now Arcadis. Quantity surveying is not a recognised profession in Indonesia, so it was crucial for me to graduate from a certified course. Three years later, Arcadis offered me a scholarship for a distance-learning postgraduate quantity surveying course via the College of Estate Management in the UK. It was a tough experience, juggling work assignments, but I graduated in 2008, and went on to pass the APC in 2010.
Becoming chartered was a huge milestone in my career. I was one of the first construction professionals in the country to qualify, and clients see me in a different light when I say I’m an RICS professional. In 2015, after being with Arcadis Indonesia for 12 years, I was promoted to deputy director. My day-to-day work involves mostly high-level estimating, including value engineering, engaging new and old clients, and giving basic quantity surveying training to our junior staff. It’s so important to share our knowledge here because formal education is not yet available to them.
My dream is to make quantity surveying a recognised profession in Indonesia. Not just a branch of architecture, but to have its own individual course. Some steps are already being made with RICS, and hopefully in the next few years, we can establish a recognised quantity surveying course at an Indonesian university.